T Nation

Thoughts on Moving Up in Weight Class?


Been lifting for about 3 years and powerlifting for 1. Competed in my first powerlifting meet in April in the 198s
Squat: 350
Bench: 255
Deadlift: 425

I was wondering about peoples experiences with moving up in weight. I really have to keep my diet tight to even stay in sight of 198. I am going to do a USAPL meet in November, and obviously my numbers would be better in the 198s. Do people have a natural weight class? Or is it better to stay as low as possible? Just wondering what other people have done.


If your goal is pure strength, then gain the weight. Most people do have a set-point in regards to the weight they usually hover around. Deviation from that can get tricky because it usually involves a lifestyle change... and everyone on Earth is basically a pussy and terrified of change.

Set-points can definitely change through diet and activity changes.I used to have a very hard time gaining weight. No matter what I ate I sat around 265-270. I went on a diet last year and got down to 229. I have been trying to gain weight again so now I am around 280-285 with little effort. But it took my a while to start gaining weight again after the diet. I changed my set-point twice and now it is higher than when I started, does that make sense?

Anyway, I say try going up in weight. If you feel like shit and don't get stronger, just loose the weight and get back to whatever weight you are comfortable at.


That makes sense. I will try out the 220s and see what happens.


Moving up in weight usually always leads to bigger totals, but if you gain the wrong kind of weight, you may not gain any ground against your new competitors. Powerlifting is an individual sport, so that might not matter to you. Take your time and don't try to fill out the new weight class in two months, you can't flex fat.

Why even stress about trying to make weight at 198 unless you're going to a national level comp or trying to hit an Elite?


Because the ultimate goal is to get to a national comp (obviously not right now). I was just wondering if I would be better served letting my body get to a natural weight or keeping my weight down to maximize my total.


This early in your competition career, you won't be able to "maximize your total" by trying to artificially hold your body weight down. Unless you are carrying way too much fat to begin with, no one should be trying to restrict their weight early on. Eat enough to recover well, which will likely have you gaining weight slowly over time. As long as you don't get excessively fat, don't worry about what your weight is doing. At some point your lifts may stall and gaining a little weight may be what is necessary to keep getting stronger. Too many young guys try to stay in a certain weight class too long and end up slowing down or stalling their long-term progress.
Also note that most of the really strong guys carry alot of muscle thickness. There are exceptions, but they are relatively rare. If you are around 198 right now and aren't carrying a ton of muscle, there is little chance you are going to get strong enough at 198 to be competitive nationally (unless you are one of those rare genetic anomalies that can gain a ton of strength with little change in body weight). Also, don't cut weight for a meet unless you are aiming for a very significant or important record. Your first few meets you should just go lift at whatever you normally weigh even if that puts you near the bottom of a weight class limit.


How tall are you? Most top level 198s are like 5'4"-5'7". If you're 6', in the long run you should be thinking 242/275.


I am 5'10" with wide shoulders